A sad goodbye…..

Today I attended the funeral of a friend, a woman only a year older than myself. I’d known her for about 12 years, since coming to my current church. She had been involved in the church, especially in the activities of the youth as her own son was growing up. She had attended several Bible studies with me and had come for a while to the depression impact group that I conducted. After the death of her father she had become bereft with grief, stricken, it seemed, unable to pull out of it. Over a course of several years she became more and more confused and withdrawn. It eventually became clear that there was more at work in her mind than grief and depression alone. She became withdrawn and seemed to do little but sit in front of the television. Some of us visited her and tried to draw her out. Eventually, whatever was at work in her mind took a toll on her body, as well. This week she died.

Just last night I had been in my car and heard Chris Rice’s Untitled Hymn (Come to Jesus) playing. It always brings tears to my eyes since I first heard it when a friend played it during a retreat that I attended. As I listened to it, I thought, “This is a song I would want played at my funeral.” Then I wondered to myself, if the Lord should grant that I would live another 15-25 years, would anyone even be familiar with this song? Then today, at my friend’s funeral, another friend, Julie, who is a gifted musician and vocalist, played and sang this beautiful song and I cried to think that it is such a fitting song for a homegoing celebration that it is bound to become a classic of the Christian faith! May God grant that it should be a song that those who celebrate my homegoing some day would hear and, in doing so, be comforted!

Untitled Hymn (Come to Jesus) by Chris Rice
Weak and wounded sinner, lost and left to die
O, raise your head for Love is passing by.
Come to Jesus, come to Jesus, come to Jesus and live!

Now your burden’s lifted and carried far away,
And precious blood has washed away the stain.
So sing to Jesus, sing to Jesus, sing to Jesus and live!

Like a newborn baby, don’t be afraid to crawl,
And remember when you walk, sometimes we fall.
So fall on Jesus, fall on Jesus, fall on Jesus and live!

Sometimes the way is lonely, and steep and filled with pain,
So if your sky is dard and pours the rain,
The cry to Jesus, cry to Jesus, cry to Jesus and live!

O, and when the love spills over, and music fills the night,
and when you can’t contain your joy inside,
Then dance for Jesus, dance for Jesus, dance for Jesus and live!

And with your final heartbeat kiss the world goodbye,
Then go in peace and laugh on Glory’s side,
And fly to Jesus, fly to Jesus, fly to Jesus and live!